Blue Demons fall to Creighton for the 20th consecutive time

DePaul interim coach Matt Brady yells to players during the first half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Creighton on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, in Omaha, Neb.

Rebecca S. Gratz/AP

OMAHA, Neb. — It took a while for Creighton to get going Saturday night. Once the Bluejays did, their game against DePaul looked a lot like most of their other meetings over the decade they’ve both been in the Big East.

Trey Alexander scored 23 points and Ryan Kalkbrenner had 22, and the 17th-ranked Bluejays broke open a close game at half to win 85-62 and move into second place in the conference behind top-ranked Connecticut.

“We started 0-2 in the league and our backs were against the wall,” Bluejays coach Greg McDermott said. “The month of January we were able to dig our way out of that. We had some tough games on the road during that stretch.”

Creighton (16-5, 7-3 Big East) has won 20 straight against DePaul, the longest streak against a conference opponent in the six major basketball leagues, and 25 of 26. The last 13 in Omaha have been decided by double digits.

It looked like a recent three-games-in-seven-days stretch caught up to Creighton early. While the Bluejays were missing shots under the basket and struggling in transition, the Blue Demons kept it close in their first road game under interim coach Matt Brady.

Jalen Terry and Jeremiah Oden provided most of the offense and Churchill Abass dunked over the 7-foot-1 Kalkbrenner to give DePaul a brief lead.

The Bluejays went ahead for good with nine minutes left in the first half but a run of careless turnovers and 1-for-7 shooting to end the half kept them from pulling away until early in the second.

“I don’t know what it was,” McDermott said. “Usually, if you don’t respect your opponent, that shows its face in preparation. I didn’t see any of that Thursday or yesterday. I thought we were really locked in at shootaround and going through our final prep. … We just seemed a little flat for whatever reason.”

Steven Ashworth matched his season highs with 17 points and five 3-pointers and Baylor Scheierman had 16 points and 10 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season.

Elijah Fisher had 12 points to lead DePaul (3-17, 0-9). The Blue Demons lost their 18th straight road game, and their conference losing streak reached 10.

“It’s a hard thing for athletes who aspire to being good to go through a season like this,” Brady said. “End of the day, we’re not going to let these guys get too down. We want them to learn some lessons here. Every athlete is going to go through trials, tribulations and adversity, and we’re going through it right now.”

Alexander’s 3-pointer, jumper and 3-point play came during a 14-2 spurt that stretched Creighton’s lead to double digits. Another 14-2 run pushed it to 68-45 with 11 minutes left.

“For about 25 minutes I thought we were good,” Brady said, “and then the game got away from us.”

The Bluejays were playing their 14th annual Pink Out Game, which raises money for the American Cancer Society. More than 18,000 fans showed up.

“Just another amazing crowd and amazing Pink Out,” McDermott said. “Everything was good except our play the first half. I was pleased the way the guys flipped the script.”

BIG PICTURE

DePaul: The Blue Demons have come out with more energy in the two games since Tony Stubblefield was fired. They were competitive in an 86-73 loss to No. 14 Marquette on Wednesday, and they were within 40-37 at halftime Saturday before Creighton took over. They’re still looking for their first Big East road win since February 2022.

Creighton: The Bluejays, who won 84-58 at DePaul on Jan. 9, completed the season sweep and went 7-1 in January. They’ve reached the halfway point of Big East play 7-3 for the third time in four seasons. 

CARTER OUT 2 MORE WEEKS

DePaul guard Chico Carter Jr. will be out for a minimum of two additional weeks with a rib injury he suffered against Providence on Jan. 17. Carter is averaging a team-best 11.8 points per game.

UP NEXT

DePaul: Hosts Seton Hall on Tuesday night.

Creighton: Hosts Butler on Friday night.

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *